There are a number of specially designed cookers on the market that will cook your rice while you prepare the rest of your meal. If you don’t have one of these, not to worry! A stovetop pot will do the job very nicely, besides being much more versatile than an electric cooker.
Storing your rice
Raw (uncooked) rice can be kept in a cool, dark place for up to three years in the unopened packaging or in an airtight container. Keep the rice perfectly dry; if moisture is allowed in the rice will turn moldy. Check the packaging for “best before” dates as very old rice may need more water or longer cooking time.
Rinsing is suitable for most types of rice including brown or white long-grain or short-grain rice. This isn’t essential but it does remove any dust that may have accumulated in storage, and it helps somewhat in removing excess starch.
One cup of raw rice will produce about four cups cooked, the equivalent of four to six servings.
Tips for liquids to use for cooking
Remember that rice absorbs water as it cooks. If you use too much water or cook the rice for too long, it will become soggy. If the rice is still undercooked after cooking by whatever method you choose, cover it tightly and set it aside for 5 to 10 minutes so that it will continue to cook in the residual heat.
If you are going to use the rice for a salad, a fried egg dish, a pilaf or a stuffing, stock can be used instead of water, and spice flavorings can be added with the liquid.
There are many ways to cook rice
Although cookbooks show a variety of methods for rice preparation, the process can be very uncomplicated and pretty fool proof. My favorite is the absorption method, making use of a 2-quart heavy stovetop pot with a tight-fitting lid. Does your pot have a cover that “jiggles” and emits steam while you cook? That can be easily solved by putting foil around the edge of the pot and lid and presto, it becomes a nice, tight steamer.
The method I like best
Measure out 1 cup of rice (long-grain, short-grain or converted, but excluding wild rice) and place it in the 2-quart pot. Add 2 cups of water for each cup of rice, and a pinch of salt if desired. With the lid off, bring the water to a boil; when the rice begins to expand cover the pot, then turn the heat to low and cook the rice for 15 minutes. Use as low a heat as possible. Let it do its own thing and do not disturb it during this time. When the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat and allow the pot to sit on the burner undisturbed for another 10 minutes. That is all there is to it – just uncover, stir the rice and serve!
What to do with leftovers
Cooked rice can be stored for up to 24 hours as long as it is cooled, tightly covered and refrigerated. Or freeze it in an airtight container, and reheat it from a frozen state by using a covered casserole in the oven. You can also thaw it and use it for a salad, for fried rice or as an ingredient in any number of rice recipes. Be sure that reheated rice is hot all the way through before it is served.
Make plenty while you are at it as leftover rice is great to have available for salads. For a vegetable-rice salad, combine the rice with ingredients such as shredded carrots, chopped celery, green pepper, green onion or olives, and toss with a creamy dressing. Fruit-rice salad is easily made with rice, grapes, pineapple pieces, diced peeled orange or chopped red apple, and mayonnaise and or whipped cream and a bit of lemon juice to taste.
Rice is nice
This inexpensive staple is versatile, compact for storage, easy to prepare and very low in cost. Enjoy it freshly prepared or the second time around; either way it is a winner!